South Africa

Etienne Oosthuizen back in action for Lions after health scare

Oosthuizen Lions 1

Etienne Oosthuizen is back with the Lions and ready to rumble as they host the Bulls in their United Rugby Championship (URC) cross-Jukskei derby at Ellis Park on Saturday afternoon.

Oosthuizen started his senior career at the Lions, before moving to the Brumbies, then onto the Sharks, where he played over 80 games, followed by almost 70 games for Lyon in France.

A heart problem almost ended his career and ruled him out of the game for three years, before he re-signed with the Lions ahead of the current season.

He has since played two Challenge Cup (EPCR) games for the Johannesburg side and is now in line to make his URC debut this weekend in the massive Highveld derby.

‘The rest will look after itself’

“I am very excited about the opportunity. Having been out for so long and working hard to get back into it (the system) has been tough,” said Oosthuizen after a training session on Wednesday.

“Getting the opportunity to play a game and prove why I am here and what I can bring to the team has always been my goal. So I will be focusing on the basics and the rest will look after itself.

“In my previous games in the EPCR I was pretty nervous and I wasn’t sure how the body was going to react. But I gained a lot of confidence from those games and it makes this first URC game a lot easier.”

The 31-year-old Oosthuizen finds himself in a stacked lock department at the Lions and admits that the competition between the players has been driving him to lift his game and force his way into the team’s plans.

“Everybody wants to play week in and week out. So it has been a patience game for me. I was out of the game for two years for medical reasons, and I am just happy to get the opportunity to play again,” explained Oosthuizen.

“That competition in the team is what drives and motivates you to work hard and hopefully get an opportunity to play a game. We also have a really good group of guys who can help me in the game so I am very confident.”

Pack battle

With a physical match-up against the Bulls on offer this weekend, Oosthuizen knows what he is in for and wants to see his fellow forwards step up and show their rivals who the better pack is on the day.

“It is the Bulls pack. It has always been the same from years ago. It is going to be a big and physical match. There will be a lot of carries around the corner, as well as a lot of mauls and scrums. It is just going to be physical,” said Oosthuizen.

“That’s what the Bulls bring to the party and we as a forward pack want to front up and show them that we believe we are the better pack.”